Quinoa In India: Everything You Need To Know About

India is undergoing ‘health revolution’. A major chunk of the population (a huge percentage of which includes the millennials and gen Z)  is embracing a lifestyle that is fitter and healthier. People are now more conscious of what they eat. Besides the taste buds, the nutritional value of food items has a major contribution to make in its popularity ranking.

This is important in the times when the country is facing health challenges including diabetes, malnutrition, hypertension etc. These diseases either are the by-products of junk food items or incorrect eating habits.

Thanks to the digital world, we have access to all the information regarding healthy food cultivated around the world. And therefore, we can emphasis more on eating the right food.

This ‘health revolution’ has made India embrace all the superfood that the world is producing. Quinoa is one such superfood of the world originating from the Andean regions of South America.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. It is a seed of a plant grown originally in the Andean region in South America. The protein content of this superfood surpasses that of wheat and rice. It contains sufficient amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. This gluten-free food is best for those with digestive disorders.

With all these nutritional offerings, quinoa can contribute to the health revolution of the country by combating the major Indian diseases.

Quinoa Cultivation in India

Quinoa cultivation is not just restricted to the Andean region now. Countries like North America, Europe and even India has recently joined in on a smaller scale. It grows in a region where there is not much water or where the soil is affected by salt content.

Although farming of quinoa in India is at a nascent stage, farmers are considering cultivating this seed as a part of crop diversification. In India, quinoa cultivation is been tried in the isolated pockets of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and some parts of Rajasthan.

Quinoa delicacies for Indian Appetite:

Quinoa is one such superfood that can be easily adopted in most of the Indian cuisines. Since it is high in fibre and a wholesome source of protein, it contributes well to a lot of vegetarian delicacies. 

It can be prepared like whole-grain as barley, brown rice or white rice. It is easy to digest thus making it an ideal meal for people with digestive problems. It has a nutty flavour, so it can be eaten boiled just like rice.

Its original taste is very subtle, so adding it to any dish does not change the authentic flavour of the dish. It can be a perfect gluten-free option that can be consumed as a breakfast, lunch, dinner or mid-day snack.  It can be prepared in the form of poha, upma, dosa, cheela, or even with mashed vegetable for Tikki and burger.

Quinoa with its amazing super-grain/super-speed benefits can contribute to a healthy and tasty diet. A guilt-free choice for any type of hunger, quinoa can be the perfect substitute for all the unhealthy snacking. It can be a major part of the health revolution and the answer to the health challenges like diabetes and malnutrition.

Beauty begins from inside. So, when it comes to beautiful and healthy-looking skin, what you eat is even more important than what you apply. Your eating habits define your energy-level, beauty and vitality. Therefore it is important to make informed dietary choices that fuel your body while giving you a healthy and glowing skin.

Chia seeds are one such beauty superfood that you may want to add to your diet because of the skin health benefits they impart.

Little underrated, they can do wonders to your beauty regimen. They are the nutritional powerhouse and loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, proteins, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B2, and B3.

And best is, they are easily available in the market and does not burn a hole in your pocket.

What are Chia Seeds?

Chia is the seed of the desert plant Salvia Hispanica which belongs to the mint family.  They originally hail from Central America, where it was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. Recently, these seeds have started getting attention from health and beauty experts.

Chia Seeds and Skin Health

Years of research on these seeds have proved them to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Loaded with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids that fight to age, soothe inflammation, reduce acne scars and keep skin radiant and healthy, they have become an important ingredient for many beauty products as well.

 

Chia seeds are perceived as a superfood loaded with lots of health and wellness benefits. They offer a variety of beauty-enhancing supplements like:

Antioxidants

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, a nutrient which helps to protect the skin cells against free radical damage and premature ageing. Antioxidants also reduce the effects of skin damage that happen from sun exposure, pollution and other environmental irritants.

Proteins

Chia seeds are protein-rich. An ounce of chia seeds contains four grams of protein. Protein is essential for collagen production, which helps skin stay strong and supple.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acid ALA. This nutrient helps to ease inflammation of the skin. Chia seeds also strengthen the skin, hair, and nails making them a powerhouse of beautiful skin.

Magnesium

Research shows that magnesium can reduce skin inflammation that occurs due to acne. Magnesium also relaxes the nervous system and regulates cortisol which is the stress hormone that wreaks havoc on skin.

Soluble Fibre

Chia seeds are the soluble fibre that helps manage blood sugar, feeds the gut-friendly bacteria, and bulks up the stool. One serving of chia seeds is almost equivalent to one-third of the daily fibre requirement of the body.

Chia Seeds Face Mask

Chia seeds can be used to make a DIY face mask for glowing and healthy skin. To prepare this mask, mix two tablespoons of chia seeds, with a half cup of coconut oil and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply this to your face and neck and let it sit for about 10-12 minutes. Chia seeds will form a gel-like layer.

Massage your face in a circular motion for a few minutes to exfoliate and wash it off with lukewarm water.

This mask will remove dead skin cells, hydrate, soothe and moisturise your face, and leave you with glowing skin.

Ways to consume Chia Seeds

The tiny, black chia seeds have a mild, nutty taste. They can be eaten in a variety of ways. One serving of chia seeds contains double the amount of antioxidants present in blueberries. Antioxidants fight off free radicals, protect your skin from pollution and helps in maintaining its elasticity.

On Empty Stomach

These seeds can do wonders for your skin and overall health when consumed on empty stomach every morning. Besides having high fibre, calcium, protein and healthy fats, these seeds also contain magnesium that helps to keep cortisol level low, lifting your mood up.

So, when you feel beautiful from inside, it definitely reflects on your face outside. Chia seeds contain an amino acid called tryptophan which helps to fight anxiety.

Dry and Ground

Chia seeds can be grounded to make flour for many gluten-free recipes. This flour can also be baked into crackers and bread. Coarsely grounded chia seeds can be added to juice or sprinkled on top of smoothies and oatmeal.

Soaked as Gel

Chia seeds when soaked in water for about half an hour to two hours will turn them into a gel. This chia gel can be mixed with water (add lemon or other flavourings) or juice or can be blended into smoothies. 

Chia gel can be a substitute for egg in preparation of the cake. One tablespoon of chia seeds soaked in three tablespoons of water will be equivalent of one egg.

Chia Seeds Pudding

Puddings are the most common way to consume chia seeds. Soak three tablespoons of chia seeds in a cup of almond or coconut milk overnight. Add a little flavour with either vanilla, cocoa, or maple syrup. You can also add chopped nuts and berries.

Besides being a healthy ingredient for skincare, chia seeds also help in stabilizing blood sugar, minimize excess belly fat, and support bone health. 

Do not miss to add this superfood to your grocery list to tremendous health benefits.

As we have been saying this all through, quinoa is one amazing superfood. Although grown as a part of the seed of the plant, it can be ground down into flour and used to make bread and pasta, it is considered as a grain.

Quinoa gluten-free and is rich in proteins, iron, magnesium. In pasta form, quinoa flour contains more protein than any other flour, making it ideal for those with celiac disease. Additionally, quinoa pasta can reduce sugar-level, insulin and triglyceride levels better than other gluten-free pasta.

So, if you are a pasta-lover and health freak, we have compiled some deliciously healthy quinoa pasta recipes for you.

Try them and tell us how you like!

Vegetable Quinoa Pasta Recipe:

Vegetable quinoa pasta is a super nutritional way to showcase the best products of the season! You can add as many ingredients to this highly adaptable dish as you want. So pick your grocery shopping bag, and pick everything you want to put in your pasta!

You can add crunchy green beans, tender corn, zucchini or summer squash. All these vegetables are sauteed lightly to complement the bright and punchy dressing.

The most important thing about this recipe is to ensure that the vegetable is not overcooked to the point that they become mushy and soggy.

Flooded with the best of seasonal ingredients, this recipe is also highly adaptable to the season.

Recipe Variants:

Since this is not a very fussy recipe, you can substitute as many vegetables as you like Zucchini, broccoli, red onion, sprouts.

You can substitute balsamic vinegar with any vinegar-based dressing of your choice like Italian dressing.

Adding the red quinoa can give an amazing textural element, but the recipe holds up well without it.

Veggie Quinoa Pasta Recipe

This vegetable loaded quinoa pasta recipe is a deliciously simple and nutritious meal!

The gluten-free, vegan dish is a perfect option for lunch or as a side dish for your BBQ.

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Gluten-Free

Servings: 6

Calories: 362 kcal

 

Ingredients

  • 250 gms quinoa pasta
  • 1 cup cooked red quinoa
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small yellow squash cut into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corns
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  • ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons basil sliced thin

 

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Drain and rinse.
  3. Spray a large skillet with olive oil and heat to medium heat.
  4. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add squash, red pepper, green beans and corn and cook for 5 minutes, until crisp and tender.
  6. Combine pasta and red quinoa.
  7. Toss with vegetables and stir in cherry tomatoes.
  8. Toss with the balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
  9. Top with almonds and basil.
  10. Serve hot.

 

Quinoa Pasta with Arugula Walnut Pesto

This gluten-free vegan quinoa pasta with arugula walnut pesto is a delicious and healthy meal option which comes together in just 30 minutes.

This quinoa pasta is tossed in nutritious arugula walnut pesto with a burst of roasted fresh corn and sun-dried tomatoes. This recipe gets even healthier with green vegetable added to it.

Arugula with its earthy flavour is combined with the basil to makes a delicious pesto. This arugula pesto is packed with the goodness of nuts, basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast.

Course: Dinner, Lunch

Cuisine: Italian

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings – 4

 

Ingredients

2 cups quinoa pasta uncooked.

 

For Arugula Walnut Pesto

2 cups packed baby arugula.

2 cups packed basil leaves.

¾ cup olive oil.

½ cup walnuts.

3 tablespoon nutritional yeast.

3 cloves of garlic chopped.

Salt to taste.

Few twists of black pepper.

1 tablespoon lemon juice.

1 teaspoon sugar.

 

For Tossing Pasta

2 tablespoon cooking olive oil/ canola oil.

1 cup sliced onions.

1 roasted sweet corn.

¼ cup sundried tomatoes drained from oil and chopped.

Salt to taste.

Fistful of fresh arugula if desired.

 

Instructions

Cook pasta according to the package.

Drain the remaining water and run cold water over it to avoid overcooking pasta and keep aside.

 

For Arugula Walnut Pesto

Put all ingredients (except olive oil) mentioned for pesto in a blender and blend until coarse in texture. Gradually, add olive oil ¼ cup at a time until it forms a smooth paste.

 

For Assembly.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom wide pan.

Add sliced onions and cook for 30 seconds.

Add sundried tomatoes.

Add the boiled pasta and mix quickly.

Add pesto as required to coat it well.

You may add in up to ¼ cup of water if pesto feels thick.

Remove from heat and toss in roasted sweet corn and top with arugula leaves.

Give it a quick mix and serve it warm.

 

Note:

You may add some chilli flakes for some spice.

Add in veggies of your choice.

You may use fresh Parmesan cheese instead of nutritional yeast or completely skip it.

You can substitute walnuts with pine nuts.